Asked on Oct 22, 2017

My tomato plants get really tall. Should I pinch off the tops?

ElaineSheryl GregoryNancy Turner


6 answers
  • Peter
    on Oct 22, 2017

    Grew Jersey tomatoes here in NJ years ago... that's the way to get tehm to branch out & flower more.
    There are 2 varieties of tomatoes (something I recently learned)... indeterminate (eventually falls over and becomes a vine) and determinate (a limited bush size). Which do you have... let the determinate variety go... give the indetrminates more space -or- pinch off.
  • Johnavallance82
    on Oct 22, 2017

    Yes when they have reached the height you want.
  • Nancy Turner
    on Oct 22, 2017

    If you trim them back, you will lessen how many tomatoes that you get. I had a yellow pear tomato last year that had a branch that ran along the fence that was about fifteen feet long and did fine and produced until the first frost. I have six tomato plants in my garden in two rows of three and they spread enough to reach all the way to all the other plants. The only one that didn't was my roma. I literally had to crawl in the tunnel that formed in order to pick ripe ones. They all supported each other to keep the vining off the ground. I am still harvesting tomatoes that have grown on the long vines. I get more from the longer vines than I do from the base plant.
  • Sheryl Gregory
    on Oct 22, 2017

    Yes! As they grow, keep pinching off the tips. Look for a junction where a leaf meets the stem & there's a tiny shoot ready to grow out, just above a leaf of new growth. Then watch the plant branch out to form many new growth points. The more you do this, the more places the plant will have to form a flower, and then the fruit. Stop pinching when it's time for the flowers to grow so you don't keep the fruit from coming! For tomatoes, be sure you support them with cages, checking to be sure the tomatoes aren't weighing it down. You should have a bumper crop.

    By the way, do this pinching/pruning with your mums as they grow, and they'll grow thick, strong, and bushy. In spring, pinch the tips back every time there's 3-5 inches of new growth, & stop pinching in early July.
  • Elaine
    on Oct 22, 2017

    For the BEST advice on growing tomatoes, go on the blog: The Art of Doing Stuff. This woman (Karen) is amazing, has her own garden plus has a huge community garden and successfully grows anything and everything!
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